Episode 229: #MusicTherapy #JournalClub MTP 34(1)

Journal Club 2016

Dr. Meganne Masko and I are back to discuss the many, many articles in Music Therapy Perspectives Volume 34, Number 1. We’ll share a summary of each article, plus our thoughts about them and how we might apply the research into our practice. Listen to our discussion using the player below. My thoughts are written below the player.


Viega, M. (2016). Aesthetic sense and sensibility: Arts-based research and music therapy. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 1-3.

Oh, arts-based research. Why must you haunt me again? The editorial started off with a story, obviously using ABR to introduce ABR. The second part related aesthetics to clinical practice and research. The third part explained how the articles in this special focus reveal why ABR is important for MTs to consider and utilize.

Special Focus: Arts-Based Research

Viega, M. (2016). Science as art: Axiology as a central component in methodology and evaluation of arts-based research (ABR). Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 4-13.

I wish that this edition had been published prior to the JMT edition on ABR. This article helped to explain ABR to me in a way that I could understand it  better. The author included graphs depicting the different styles of ABR and explained ABR methodology and how to evaluate ABR. There was a video for this article and a few of the others, but I can never make the videos work on my slow internet and old computer. I can watch part of it and then the video crashes due to network error.

Austin, D. (2016). Revisiting Grace Street: A retrospective account of an arts-based research study of alcoholics anonymous. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 14-25.

I didn’t know that Grace Street was most likely the first ABR published for music therapy. I found this article interesting as it described her process in formulating the research. The play script was presented and since I couldn’t view the video, I was glad to read this. It did help me to see how alcoholism and AA affects people, which is useful because I’m teaching about substance abuse disorders and music therapy this semester.

Kay, L. (2016). Research as bricolage: Navigating in/between the creative arts disciplines. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 26-32.

I read this article last, right before the show. Which means I didn’t actually read it. It’s about collage. I can’t make my brain wrap around this concept as research right now. I have a kid and many other obligations today that are distracting me. Which I think is one of the reasons reading and incorporating research into practice is a challenge for clinicians. Many articles are difficult to read and take a LOT of creative thinking to figure out how to apply it. I do think we should push ourselves and expand our points of view, but sometimes, life gets in the way of that. I hope Dr. Masko was able to read this one and can explain it to me.

Beer, L. E. (2016). From embedded to embodied: Including music in arts-based music therapy research. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 33-40.

This article explains how music can be integrated into research design and implementation. I think this might be useful in helping me understand ABR, but I ran out of time and interest to read more than the abstract and conclusion.

Forinash, M. (2016). On supervising arts-based research. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 41-45.

This article might help me shape my understanding of ABR. It did underscore how the use of gender neutral pronouns might affect our society and how we report research. I think this might be useful in helping me understand ABR, but I ran out of time and interest to read more than the abstract and conclusion.

Viega, M. (2016). Performing “Rising from the ashes” arts-based research results from the study “Loving me and my butterfly wings: An analysis of hip hop songs written by adolescents in music therapy.” Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 46-47.

This might have been more useful published right after the article about this ABR performance. It’s an artist statement and description of the song cycle. I know that art affects us and informs us and changes us. But how is this research? I still don’t understand that part.

Austin, D., Mahoney, J., Courter, A., Ryan, K, Starace, J., & DeFeo, N. (2016). Artists’ reflections on performing the arts-based research study Grace Street. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 48-51.

I’m not sure why this wasn’t published right after the first article on Grace Street, but I read it in that order. Hearing from the performers and the author and the music director was powerful. I think that art can have a profound affect on us. I still struggle to see how it is research.

Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025: Three Participants’ Reflections

  • Meadows, A. (2016). Introduction. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 52-53.
  • Knott, D. (2016). A clinician’s perspective. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 53-54.
  • Gooding. L. F. (2016). An educator’s response. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 54-55.
  • Shiloh, C. J. (2016). A clinician’s response–Considering our clients’ voices. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 55-56.

This series was interesting and short, so I liked that. I like hearing about MTR 2025 and trying to understand what was accomplished and where it will direct our focus as a profession. These three perspectives were useful in providing a snapshot of the proceedings. I can’t wait to hear Dr. Masko’s perspective on this, since she was able to attend MTR 2025.

Clinical Practice

Waldon, E. G. (2016). Clinical documentation in music therapy: Standards, guidelines, and laws. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 57-63.

This article helped me to remember the standards of practice for documentation of music therapy and to learn about guidelines from related professions and laws governing documentation. I can’t wait to read the series that this article is the foundation for. I think documentation is something that many MTs struggle with but it is so essential! I used this article to help me review my documentation practices and think about how to improve them.

Graham, M. E. (2016). Toward a practice of engaged filming in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 64-70.

This article appeared to have been written by a film student that worked with a NRMT clinic filming their sessions. At least that’s how it came across to me. She wrote about the art of filming and matching sound to a visual experience required the videographer to be engaged in the NRMT, even though not physically in the room. She stated that this engaged filming helped to capture the representation of the session in a way that assisted with documentation and analysis of the session. I can see how we might produce better analysis and documentation of sessions if we do it by reviewing film of the session, but this does not seem practical in most settings, with permissions and confidentiality and legal issues, not to mention the solo-practitioner that many of us are.

Linking Research and Clinical Practice: Two Perspectives

This article was exciting to me. Two MTs from different treatment approaches talk about applying the same article into their clinical practice. The article they looked at was:

Geretsegger, M., Holck, U., Carpente, J., Elefant, C., Kim, J., & Gold, C. (2015). Common characteristics of improvisational approaches in music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder: Developing treatment guidelines. Journal of Music Therapy, 52 (2), 258-281. doi:10.1093/jmt/thv005

Rick Soshensky looks at IMT from a music-centered, NRMT perspective. He wrote about how music is an intuitive, feeling-based, unpredictable art and that this article helped provide a way to translate a musical experience into an objective clinical language.

Michelle Welde Hardy speaks about IMT from a neurologic music therapy perspective. She wrote about how she uses the rhythmic elements of music when she improvises with clients with ASD to help mediate the motor dysregulation, which in turn assists them in connecting socially and emotionally with others. She said this article helps provide music therapists practicing from different approaches to engage in discussion about IMT with a similar vocabulary as a starting point.


Gallagher, C., Macri, J., Regan, A., & Tollman, J. (2016). A year in review: Summarizing published literature in music therapy in 2013. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 76-89.

This is a great article for me, as a clinician, to find MT articles published in resources outside of JMT and MTP. They are categorized into populations and subject areas. If I were in the middle of my recertification cycle (those of you whose cycle started in 2012 or 2013), I could find articles to review for continuing education credits (I’m not, though). I bet you could even find 3 articles that relate to ethics and fulfill those credits. As an educator, I can point my students to this article to help them find required articles for class assignments. The sad part is that they found more and more articles being published about music and music medicine and “music therapy” that do not use a Board Certified Music Therapist.

Fox, E. I. & McKinney, C. H. (2016). The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music for music therapy interns: A survey of effects on professional and personal growth. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 90-98.

This article highlighted for me the importance of therapists, including music therapists, participating in therapy as a client. I would love to participate in BMGIM as my own therapy, but there aren’t enough providers in my area to make it happen. Hmmm…maybe I’ll reach out to the MT that offers BMGIM through Skype…

Ross, S. (2016). Utilizing rhythm-based strategies to enhance self-expression and participation in students with emotional and behavioral issues: A pilot study. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 99-105.

I know this author personally, so I was thrilled to see her study published here. She includes an example of her intervention protocol, which I can use to spark my own creativity when planning sessions for my clients that have emotional and behavioral issues. She looks at rhythm-based strategies to enhance self-expression and participation, and this article is written in a way that I can replicate the study in my clinical work to see if my results match hers. I don’t have the type of setting or the number of clients that would allow me to publish my results as research, but this article could inform my data collection and reporting methods when I communicate with the treatment team.

Preis, J. Amon, R., Robinette, D. S, & Rozegar, A. (2016). Does music matter? The effects of background music on verbal expression and engagement in children with autism spectrum disorders. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 106-115.

From a researcher perspective (I am not a researcher), I imagine that this article might be important as a foundation for showing why music as background is not effective on its own. From a music therapist’s perspective, I am frustrated that this study was published. The authors are all speech pathologists, which raises my “nothing about us without us” defenses. As a clinician that works with ASD, I could see from the description of their method why their findings would show background music is not effective to increase verbal expression and engagement. They didn’t use effective music or use it in an effective way. I think that if they consulted with a music therapist when designing their research, they might have selected music that was more appropriate for their study purposes. I can’t wait to hear what Dr. Masko, who is a researcher, has to say about this article. This is the reason I do journal club. I strive to broaden my understanding of music therapy, and the world, by seeking opinions and perspectives of others, rather than just looking through my own lens. I feel that there’s something that might be valuable about this study that I’m missing. So listen to the discussion to find out!

Yinger, O. S. & Springer, D. G. (2016). Analyzing recommended songs for older adult populations through linguistic and musical inquiry. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 116-124.

I like articles like this one because it listed songs used frequently with older adults and analyzed them based on form, lyrical content, key signature,time signature, and other factors. These are listed in some tables which makes them easy to understand and grab information from. As a clinician who works with older adults, this article can help shape how I select songs to use in groups. As an educator, I can send my students to this article to help them select repertoire and to talk about the function of music in therapy.